AARP is proud to partner with Next Day Better to share stories of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) disrupting aging. We're excited to show that AAPIs have a voice — and that our combined voices are loud, proud and clear!
As my dad’s memories fade due to Alzheimer’s disease, the list of things that still stick with him gets increasingly shorter. My mom’s name is frequently on his lips, even though she passed on a year ago. His service dog, Mr. Jackson, is still his key companion and, even when he can’t remember his name, he looks for “the dog.” And he still knows the 10th Mountain Division, with whom he served in World War II as they drove the Nazis and Mussolini out of Italy. Being a veteran is one of the few things that Dad still identifies with.
Many people know George Takei as Mr. Sulu from TV's popular Star Trek and most recently as a social media guru and host of the AARP-produced YouTube series "Takei's Take." But the Los Angeles native also has ties to Japan, where he lost an aunt and a cousin after the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, wiping out the port city on Aug. 6, 1945. Eight years old at the time, Takei was incarcerated with his parents and siblings in a Japanese American internment camp in California. Takei recently returned to Hiroshima for his AARP YouTube series to explore the effects of the A-bomb and technology's role in the event.
In 1936, at age 19, Louis Zamperini was one of the best middle-distance runners in the world. He was good enough to be on the U.S. team in the Berlin Olympics, where he finished eighth in the 5,000 meters and stood close enough to Adolf Hitler's box at the stadium to get a good look at the Nazi dictator. "I was pretty naí¯ve about world politics, and I thought he looked funny, like something out of a Laurel and Hardy film," Zamperini recalled in a 2003 interview with the New York Times.
When Chester Nez attended boarding school in the 1930s, he risked having his mouth washed out with soap if he spoke in Navajo instead of English. But fortunately for America's fortunes during World War II, he never forgot the language of his people.
During World War II, Rosie the Riveter, her bicep flexed, peered out from a poster and reminded American women filling factory jobs that "We Can Do It!"
Rick Atkinson's Guns at Last Light has topped bestseller lists since May. It was the third volume in the "Liberation Trilogy," his epic history of World War II, and now the two-time Pulitzer winner has reupped for another conflict: the Revolutionary War.
Robert Emmett "Bob" Fletcher, who died on May 23 at age 101 in the Sacramento area, fought heroically to defend his fellow Americans during World War II, though he never put on a uniform or fired a shot. His struggle, though, was not against the Axis powers. Rather, it was against an injustice perpetrated by the U.S. government itself: the 1942 forced relocation of 122,000 Japanese-Americans, most of them citizens, to internment camps, where they were held without charges out of a misguided suspicion that they might be disloyal. In addition to losing their liberty, the Japanese-American internees often lost the homes and businesses that they had to leave behind. In particular, Japanese-American farmers, who had to leave their crops untended, risked ruin.
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